Thursday, February 2, 2012

Volcan Lanin

the majestic Araucaria tree
Another day in Villarrica last week we joined Glen’s sister, Joanne, and her husband, Don, on a hike in Villarrica National Park to see Volcan Lanin, a volcano located in Argentina but you can hike below it on the Chilean side of the border.  They drove us up to the park and you could tell our kids were thrilled to have some other adults with whom to talk.  Joanne and Don were such great sports listening to story after story from our kids, playing our favorite time-killing game, “I’m Thinking of an Animal…”  and just enjoying Cal and Harper’s constant babble of random information.  
When we arrived we started our hikes separately (because they were headed up a longer trail) and we hiked to a beautiful lake called Lago Escondito.  Looking back we probably should have pushed the kids a little harder and hiked the further distance with Joanne and Don because their view of the volcano was spectacular.  But a great view and two whiny kids is no picnic either, so we enjoyed the rolling, kid-friendly, mellow hike and took it easy swimming at the lake. 
crazy photo from inside the car as we drove up towards the Lanin Volcano
Harper and Cal in font of some baby araucaria trees

Harper's passion for collecting things in nature has grown into some serious floral arrangements.  She's not bad!
That lake should be around here somewhere...
Cal's black-sand goatee
Joanne and I take a dip

To be a kid again... 
A line of araucarias 
Cal and the Araucaria tree
The trail winded through a gorgeous forest of our now favorite tree, the Araucaria.  They are enormous conifer trees, living fossils some people say, that have been on the earth since Mesozoic period.  Their branches, on which you would expect to find needles, instead hold really broad folded overlapping leaf-like needles, that almost look like origami.  The branches stretch out wide at the top to form a canopy leaving the tall erect trunk exposed for much of the tree.  Danny and I couldn’t stop taking photos of them and stopping along our hike to admire their beauty and age.  And they only grow about a centimeter every four years!

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